Delhi is an extraordinary blend of modern yet traditionally diverse and having great historical significance as an important commercial, transport, and cultural hub, as well as the political centre of India. It was declared as the capital of Independent India in 1950 and declared as a state in 1992. Recognized by UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the city is adorned with history of various empires.
There is an “alleyway” to “Galli” difference between the modern Delhi and Purani “Dilli”. People living in Delhi are generally known as Delhi-ites and have a mixed culture with people of all religions and communities. It is surrounded by some major IT and cyber hub cities like Gurgaon, Noida and Faridabad. The capital city is supposedly divided into two sections – Purani Dilli or Old Delhi and Nayi Dilli or New Delhi. There is no particular season to go to Delhi, but it is recommended for tourists to visit during the months of September to March as the summers can get really very hot here and the monsoons can really drench you. Looking at the vast culture, tradition and modern lifestyle, it is rightly said that Delhi belongs to those with a big heart (Delhi Dilwalon Ki).
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The city of Delhi which is also one of the union territories of India, is located in North central India. The union territory, is on the Indo-Gangetic plain, which is crossed by the Yamuna River and stretches between the Aravalli Hills on the south and the Shiwalik Range on the north, connecting the alluvial valleys of the Indus and Ganges river systems. Since it sits on this plain, most of the city is relatively flat. It is also located in the floodplains of several large rivers, but none of them actually flow through the city. It encompasses Old and New Delhi and the surrounding metropolitan region, as well as adjacent rural areas. To the east the territory is bounded by the state of Uttar Pradesh, and to the north, west, and south it is bounded by the state of Haryana. It is a densely populated region, with over 11 million people. A hot and arid region, with temperatures rising above 110°F (43°C) in the summer, it has extensive irrigation works to support agriculture. Hindi and Urdu are spoken by more than 90% of the population here. Yamuna is the only main river flowing through Delhi and is one of India’s most sacred rivers. The Yamuna flood plains provide fertile soil suitable for agriculture. However, these plains are prone to recurrent floods and the flood line can sometimes reach a massive height of 318 metres destroying the crops around it.
The climate of Delhi is characterized by extreme dryness, with intensely hot summers. It is associated with a general prevalence of continental air, which moves in from the west or northwest, except during the season of the monsoon, when an easterly to southeasterly influx of oceanic air brings rain and increased humidity. The summer season lasts from mid-March to the end of June, with maximum temperatures typically reaching about 100 °F (about 37 °C) and minimum temperatures falling into the high 70s F (about 25 °C); it is characterized by frequent thunderstorms and squalls, especially in April and May. The monsoon season normally begins in July and continues until the end of September. It is during these months that Delhi receives the bulk of its rainfall—roughly 23 inches (600 mm), or nearly three-fourths of the annual average. October and November constitute a transition period from monsoon to winter conditions. The dry winter season extends from late November to mid-March. The coldest month is January, with high temperatures in the low 70s F (about 21 °C) and low temperatures in the mid-40s F (about 7 °C). The climate of New Delhi, basically, is considered humid subtropical and it is highly influenced by the seasonal monsoon. It has long, hot summers and cool, dry winters. Precipitation is highest in July and August. Therefore, it is best recommended to visit Delhi in the month of October through February for the cold in itself brings out the true essence of the city. A glass of chai from the street tapri in the wintry morning jogs your muscles and gives you enough energy to start your day!
Delhi’s cultural life exhibits a unique blend of the traditional and cosmopolitan styles. The city is dotted with numerous museums, historic forts and monuments, libraries, auditoriums, botanical gardens, and places of worship. Complementing such traditional institutions are the ever-changing urban commercial and leisure centers, with their privately held contemporary art galleries, bowling alleys and other sports venues, and restaurants serving a variety of Indian and international cuisines. Delhi cuisine, which is more popularly known as North Indian cuisine, is famous in the whole world.
Hinduism is the main religion followed by the people of Delhi including Islam, Christianity and Sikhism. One can witness a blend of modern lifestyles with the old customs and traditions here. Also reflecting Delhi’s cultural and stylistic diversity are its numerous fairs and festivals. These include an annual film festival as well as many sorts of trade and book fairs. The cultural diversity of Delhi is seen in a much larger form when people come together during festivals. Be it Holi, Diwali, Lohri, Eid, Christmas or Buddha Purnima, all the festivals are celebrated with the same vigor and bliss among the people from different communities.
Hindi is the official language spoken in Delhi while English, Punjabi and Urdu are also widely spoken amongst the inhabitants of the city. Delhi is also influenced by the culture of its bordering states like Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. It is this diversity that makes Delhi so lively and colorful!
Along with the modern and contemporary lifestyle that the people and atmosphere of Delhi speaks of, almost every nook and corner of Delhi would be a reminder of the history the city has shared with some of the very powerful emperors of various periods. Some artists, poets, and architects from Central Asia brought with them the Seljuq (Turkish) tradition of architecture, characterized by a lotus-bud fringe on the underside of arches, ornamental reliefs, and bricks laid endwise and lengthwise in alternating courses in the masonry face. The heritage of Delhi boasts of cultural layers of various time periods, namely: the Rajput dynasty, and the Mughal dynasty. If you visit the city of Delhi, you are bound to explore through the walls of it’s larger than life monuments! The earliest that the historians know of Delhi is that from the Mahabharata. It is said that the city of Indraprastha, built by the Pandavas 5000 years ago, was their capital in the same region. Historically speaking, the city of Lal Kot, founded by the Tomar dynasty, is the earliest archaeological evidence of the city’s history. The city has been a witness to the rise and fall of many empires since then. Mughal Emperor Shahjahan founded Old Delhi in 1639 which was formerly known as Shahjahanabad and it remained the capital of the Mughals till the end of the Mughal Dynasty. New Delhi became the capital of India in the year 1931 under the British Raj, for it served as a financial and political center for several empires of Ancient India. Given its rich and varied cultural heritage, one can find themselves amidst monuments that stand proudly centuries after centuries, witnessing the rise and fall of emperors and their empires. You will find that 5 of the original 14 gates of the walled city of Delhi are still standing tall. These monuments give you a trip down what is left of the Rajputana and the Mughal Sultanate.
India's Golden Triangle is a tourist circuit which connects Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. The Golden Triangle is so called because of the triangular shape formed by marking New Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan on a map. If you've never been to India before, start here for it could not get any better than a Golden Triangle holiday package with an enriching cultural experience.
Delhi makes up one of the cornerstones of the Golden Triangle in the country's north. It reflects the many colors and flavors of India's eclectic composition. Here you will be inspired, amazed, fascinated and impressed at every corner. The India Gate, Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, Qutub Minar, Jantar-Mantar, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Akshardham Temple, Bahai Temple and many more are worth seeing in Delhi. It is a paradise for shopping, eating and sight-seeing and is the perfect mix of the old and the new to discover a whole range of experiences.
Agra is a major tourist destination because of its many splendid Mughal-era buildings, most notably the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, all three of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This historical city stands 200 km south of New Delhi, on the banks of river Yamuna. Over three centuries ago, it was a powerful Mughal capital and the most important city of northern India. It was at this time that Agra's many timeless architectural wonders were born.
Jaipur, the picturesque capital of Rajasthan was the first planned city in India with beautifully laid out gardens and parks, attractive monuments and marvelous heritage hotels, which were once the residence of the Maharajas. The Pink City is replete with historical landmarks that echo its past glory and living traditions. Visit to the Amber Fort, City Palace, Jantar-Mantar, Central Museum, Hawa Mahal, the ambling camels and cheerful people in multi-hued costumes will make your trip to the pink city a memorable one.
The Nation’s capital has monuments laden with historical significance throughout the city. One can observe the cultural vastness and diversity in these monuments. It is deeply entrenched with Turkish, Persian, Islamic and Hindu culture. Passing through these walls one can be sure to witness all the events that happened in those areas. The making of the palaces, monuments, etc., are well worthy of appreciation for all these monuments are dated centuries ago and yet, have withstood all the waves of cultural and political changes.
The Hall of Private Audiences is yet another place meant for the Emperor’s private meetings and state/special guests.
Constructed completely out of white marble, the Lotus Temple is a sight for sore eyes given its architecture which stands apart from the city’s buildings.
Situated to the southern end of the city, The Delhi Gate connects New Delhi with Old Delhi.
The Forest of Peace is the memorial of the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru.
Humayun's tomb is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun in Delhi, India. The tomb was commissioned by Humayun's first wife and chief consort, Empress Bega Begum, and designed by Persian architects chosen by her.
The Jama Masjid is India’s largest mosque. It was the emperor Shah Jahan’s last architectural contribution to the city. It boasts of holding up to 25 thousand people.
The Raj Ghat is the memorial of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi. It holds an eternal light at the peak of the platform hence, speaking of his eternal presence over the nation.
Or the Hall of Audience, is the place within the Red Fort, wherein Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor and his successors, received members of the general public and heard the grievances.
The India gate was built in the year 1920, it was a dedication to the Indian soldiers of the British Army who fought in the World War. There is another memorial, the Amar Jawan Jyoti, which was added later and was dedicated to soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971. The India Gate is surrounded by lush green gardens which is a popular picnic spot for families. At night-time, it is beautifully lit, hence glorifying the magnificent architecture.
Located in Old Delhi, the Red Fort, which quite obviously derived its name for it being built out of red sandstone, had been built as the palace fort of Shahajahanbad, which later served as the residence of the Mughal dynasty for about 200 years until the late 1800s. The architectural significance of this monument is that if one should look closely at the interiors, it speaks of a mixture of Persian, Islamic and Hindu culture.
This monument is the highest tower in the country. One can observe that certain storeys are built differently than the others, Apart from the tower, the Qutub Minar is accompanied by the Quwwat-us-Islam Mosque (the first mosque to be built in India), a 7-meter-high iron pillar, the tomb of Iltutmish, Ala’i-Darwaza and the Ala’I Minar.
One of the famous and oldest markets, one can find themselves street shopping or food hogging, for various spices and condiments, jewellery, sarees and other trinkets. Old Delhi's backbone is an iconic shopping strip, dotted by temples, snarled by traffic and crammed with stores selling everything from street food to sarees.
Dilli Haat is a paid-entrance open-air food plaza and craft bazaar located in Delhi, run by Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation. Unlike the traditional weekly market, the village Haat, Dilli Haat is permanent. It is located in the commercial centres of South Delhi.
Sarojini Nagar is a marketplace filled with tiny bazaars that would bring out the shopaholic in you. One can shop for the latest fashion trends as well as the old school fashion for the lowest of prices, provided one knows how to bargain. It is a must-have, for bargaining is a skill even the shopkeepers are skilled at.
Delhi's Khari Baoli market is Asia's largest wholesale spice market. One can find themselves smelling through an assortment of spices, nuts, herbs and the likes. There are few shops which have still maintained the names – “Chawal Wale 13”, “21 Number ki Dukaan”, “15 Number ki Dukaan” and many more since the time from when they were first set up. These trades are continued by the ninth or tenth generations now. Not only is the bazaar as a whole ancient, but, each and every shop in it spells history.
Connaught Place is the largest commercial center of the region and is named after the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn. The building forms two concentric circles. The inner circle consists of Blocks A to F while the outer circle consists of Blocks G to P. Seven roads connect the inner and outer circles. The marketplace includes shops, showrooms, hotels, restaurants, banks, offices and much more.
The people of Delhi know what it is like to live amidst such traditionally and diverse history. The most common sight you’ll find in the streets of Delhi are the colorful cycle rickshaws ridden by jolly old men, who will be your personal tour guide, starting with their own brief family history, to the why’s and how’s of all the tiny troubles of their daily lives. Amidst all the chatter, you’ll find they will not have left that smile off their faces for they enjoy showing the people around, they love connecting with people and cycle rickshaws are their social networking rides.
One will come to understand that all the old stores and shops in and around Delhi’s famous markets are owned by generations of families who proudly speak of their businesses. They might just have family rivalries with stores of the same businesses, one such business feud can be found with “Aggarwal Sweets” or “Agarwal Sweets” or “Aggarawal Sweets”. Make sure you know which one you’re going to for all you know is, all of them claim to be equally authentic! If you come to pass through the political sites, i.e the Parliament, Supreme Court, etc., you may find that people guarding the gates, literally guard them with their lives. Each one, holding their positions proudly for they understand the significance of their duties. The localities in Delhi are always friendly, always ready to offer their two cents to help you find your route if you lost your way while also suggesting places to visit hence confusing you even more for one cannot simply just visit Delhi, one needs to “feel Dilli”.
Delhi and Delhi-ites are known as much for their insatiable appetites as they are for the unending variety of food found in the city. One can find snack serving eateries or hawkers in almost every street here and this is probably the reason why foodies love this city so much. But what really captures the essence of the city is the street food that changes colour and taste but gets only better with every step.
Melt in mouth meat, oozing with juices and flavors, the shawarma rolls are a departure from tradition and served with mayonnaise and green chutney. Spice Aangan leaves meat lovers asking for more.
North Campus is one area where you won’t be disappointed when it comes to street food, snacking joints, fast food, and multi-cuisine diners. This is a place that is always bustling with students from all over India who have limited pocket money to spend.
A paradise for street food, authentic Mughlai cuisine, and sweets lovers, Old Delhi still retains its glorious charm and culinary delights of the past. For someone who likes experiential binging, this is the place to be!
Located near India Gate, Pandara Road has some of the best places to eat in Delhi. It is an upmarket choice for all those who are looking for an excellent meal in a niche part of the city. Some of the best fine dining restaurants are present here.
From fancy revolving restaurants to the delicious local rajma chawal, Connaught Place does not discriminate when it comes to food. One can relish all kinds of cuisines here – be it local, regional, or international.